636 Reasons for Cub Fans to be Thankful in 2008

In a special, Thanksgiving edition of his Stat of the Week, John Dewan chronicles the Cubs' aversion to taking walks from 2003 through '07.

Here is how the Cubs hitters ranked among NL clubs in BB:

2003 14th of 16 teams
2004 14th of 16 teams
2005 16th of 16 teams
2006 16th of 16 teams
2007 15th of 16 teams

Last year  was a different story. The Cubs led the NL with 636 walks--the league average was 551--and, as Dewan points out, "the Cubs increased their run production by over 100 runs...leading the 2008 NL in runs scored with 855."

Based on the individual player stats at FanGraphs, here is how the key figures in the Cub lineup aided the cause and how their willingness to walk in 2008 compared to 2007 and the rest of their careers:

Player  '08 BB%
'07 BB %
Career BB %
Jim Edmonds
13.9%
10.1%
12.8%
Mark DeRosa 12.0%
10.4% 
8.7%
Aramis Ramirez
11.8%
7.8%
7.4%
Ryan Theriot
11.2%
8.4%
10.0%
Derrek Lee
10.2%
11.1%
11.3%
Alfonso Soriano
8.7%
5.1%
5.7%
Reed Johnson
5.4% 5.5% 5.4%

 

Geovany Soto  (just 79 career AB's before last year) and Kosuke Fukudome aren't listed because they had no MLB track record to compare to, but both wore their walking shoes last season: Soto walked 11.2% of the time (2nd among NL catchers) and Fukudome finished at 13.9%, a higher BB rate than all but three other regular NL outfielders, Adam Dunn (19.1%), Pat Burrell (16.0%), and Atlanta's Gregor Blanco (14.7%). As much as Fukudome appeared to be overmatched for much of the season, his patience at the plate, at least early in the year, seemed to set the stage for the Cubs' overall offensive approach in 2008.

 

Comments

some may not miss jim edmonds at all, but the guy's partial production would be a MVP-calibre season over a full year. hope someone picks up the slack there...at least DLee has room for improvement in that area.

I just can't accept all those numbers, Rob. Do you mean to say that THE MORE BASE RUNNERS WE HAVE, THE MORE RUNS WE SCORE? Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. That can't be right. Ok I'm gonna go look for witches to burn at the stake now.

I am thankful and give credit to Fukudome for showing the way in terms of patience at the plate. I honestly believe he influenced the team in that reguard. I hope the '09 Cubs follow that approach. Please do not get Adam Dunn, I cannot bare to hear the laughter coming from Cincinnati. Let him go play football in Europe. Is Ichiro available?

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